Planning Commission notes

Last night’s meeting of the Planning Commission was routine but worth attending if only for the commissioners’ comments at the end. Police Department was the theme. They’re a popular topic these days.

Commissioner Ed Surritt said he’s been on a handful of ride-alongs with police. He noticed that in the arrests he’s seen, officers take their guy downtown to the PD, where he’s photoed and fingerprinted. Then the officers load the guy up again and take him out to the Sheriff’s Office in French Camp, where the perp is again photographed and printed. That takes officers off patrol for an hour or more. Surritt asked if there isn’t a more effecient way to do this, given the budget constraints and today’s technology.

“We’re all these officers down,” he said. “It seems the county and city ought to be able to partner up.”

Commissioner Christina Fugazi wanted to the thank the SPD. Her house was recently burglarized and officers arrested the guy. She said it was a pretty upsetting experience, but officers did her right. She even recovered some of her stolen items.

“I was very upset,” Fugazi said. “They calmed my nerves.”

Commissioner Sandra Davis asked about the status of the Community Development Department. Staffers told her the city had started to recruit a new department head upon Mike Niblock’s retirement, but that stalled when City Manager Bob Deis announced his retirement. There are some five department head positions that need to be filled, Davis was told. The Community Development Department is down from 88 to 28 staffers, Niblock said. A consulting group next week is about to get started on a soup-to-nuts assessment of how they do business and the technology to better serve the community.

But stay tuned for the Planning Commission’s next meeting, Nov. 10, when medical marijuana is back on the docket. That should be a good discussion.

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